mine safety

5:02 pm
Tue February 18, 2014

Coal Miner Alleges Discrimination for Reporting Safety Issues at Western Kentucky Plant

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

A Western Kentucky coal miner is alleging several counts of workplace discrimination, after he reported safety problems at his job and was fired.

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5:51 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Mine Safety Commission Rules in Favor of Whistleblower

Mackie Bailey in the P-1 Mine. The roof bolting machine's safety devices are visible in the foreground of the photo; law requires they be held against the roof.
Courtesy of Mackie Bailey

The Kentucky Mine Safety Review Commission has ruled that a coal miner who reported unsafe conditions won’t be punished for breaking the law.

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4:47 pm
Tue December 18, 2012

Whistleblower Faces State Penalty for Working in Unsafe Conditions He Reported

Mackie Bailey in the P-1 Mine. The ATRS' are visible in the foreground of the photo; law requires they be held against the roof.
Courtesy of Mackie Bailey

An eastern Kentucky coal miner who reported unsafe work conditions is now facing sanctions by the state.

Mackie Bailey is a longtime roof bolting machine operator who worked at Manalapan Mining’s P-1 mine in Harlan County. For several weeks, Bailey says he and other miners had been working without a required safety device called the Automated Temporary Roof Support (ATRS), which is supposed to brace against the roof of the mine and protect miners from a potential roof collapse.

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2:03 pm
Fri August 31, 2012

MSHA Reports Success With Increased Efforts to Protect Whistleblowers

The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration is reporting increases in the number of miners who have filed discrimination complaints after reporting safety violations.

Federal law protects miners who report unsafe working conditions to employers, or refuse to work until the problem is fixed. But Assistant Secretary of Labor Joe Main says that after the explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia two years ago, it was obvious many miners were afraid to exercise their rights.

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3:51 pm
Fri August 17, 2012

Mine Official Pleads Guilty to Safety Violations

An official with an eastern Kentucky coal mining company has pleaded guilty to federal charges that he put miners at risk.

Coal mine foremen are required to note hazardous conditions in inspection reports, and then correct them. Manalapan Mining Company shift foreman Bryant Massingale acknowledged that he didn’t do this in federal court on Thursday.

Massingale worked at the company's P-1 mine in Harlan County. A grand jury charged the company and three officials with exposing miners to the risk of injury or death by violating safety rules in June 2011.

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11:00 am
Fri July 20, 2012

MSHA Releases Mid-Year Fatality Report; 19 Miners Died in First 6 Months of 2012

Nineteen miners died in the first half of 2012, according to the federal Mine Safety and Health Administration’s mid-year summary.

Ten of those deaths were in coal mines (the rest were in metal or nonmetal mines). And five of them were in Kentucky—four of them in coal mines, and one in a limestone mine.

According to the release from MSHA:

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12:08 pm
Tue July 17, 2012

GOP Seeks to Block Funding for New Measures to Reduce Black Lung Disease

GOP members on the U.S. House Appropriations committee have inserted language into a bill to block a new Mine Safety and Health Department initiative to reduce occurrences of black lung disease--or coal workers' pneumoconiosis.

NPR's Howard Berkes reported on the new language this morning on NPR's news blog The Two Way:

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1:47 pm
Fri July 13, 2012

California Congressman Says Federal Government Needs More Tools for Mine Safety

The leading Democrat on the U.S. House Committee on Education and Workforce says the federal government doesn’t have enough tools to keep coal miners safe.

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6:32 pm
Thu July 12, 2012

MSHA Fines Eastern Kentucky Mining Company for 2011 Fatality

A Kentucky coal company has been fined nearly $600,000 by the federal government, stemming from violations that directly contributed to the death of a miner last year.

In June 2011, David Partin was killed at the Manalapan Mining Company’s P-1 Mine in Harlan County. A large section of rock fell from the coal mine’s wall, and knocked him into a dolly.

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5:00 am
Mon July 9, 2012

NPR, Partners Investigate Resurgence of Black Lung Disease

An investigation by NPR and several partners has found that black lung disease is far from being eradicated among coal miners. On the contrary: the reports outline a disease where diagnoses have doubled in the last decade in parts of Kentucky, West Virginia and Virginia.

Black lung disease--also called coalworkers' pneumoconiosis--is a disease caused by breathing large amounts of coal dust.

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